Sunday, November 30, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
John's been encouraging me to be more earnest--to overcome my fear of preciousness or sentimentality, and maybe get over my cynicism a little. So this year (deep breath) I want to go on record with gratitude for the following:
-mornings with a lot less street noise
-generous friends and neighbors
-22 weeks a year when we can eat local organic produce, delivered just 3 blocks from home
-my sweet, sweet pooch
-that Nick Cave continues to amaze, and will always be older than I am
-the many people in my life who've got my back
Have a lovely holiday and enjoy your various breathers, whatever form they may take.
Friday, November 21, 2008
and this guy on the right . . .
It's a long story, but that first guy--our good friend Thuan--staked out our corner at 5am last Tuesday to confront the horn honker (the driver who's been blaring her SUV horn before dawn every morning, including Saturdays, since August). Thuan got photos and a license plate number and even tried gently to talk with her, but in a repeat of what John and I got when we attempted the same, she rebuffed him through a closed window and drove off, horn blazing. Thuan lives several blocks away and doesn't ever hear the disruption: he just insisted on doing this out of the goodness of his heart. When I'm on my death bed hopefully decades from now, and someone asks me the kindest thing anyone ever did for me, this act will rank in the top three, guaranteed.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sunday night found me in a small music hall listening to a former student's band, a two-piece outfit that owes a debt to vintage country, calliope music, murder ballads, and Southern blues, but mostly has its own thing going on. You can take a listen below to my favorite song from my favorite of their records (and as anyone knows who lives routinely with boom boxes and early-morning car horns, it's nice to have something that comes to your ears pretty). That's my student on the left in glasses; he's clearly not so much a kid anymore. I taught him about 14 years ago in a fiction-writing intro, and he was my only student in 10 years of teaching who never missed a class.
Then on Monday I met up with my old college friend Andy. Connecting with him required a 3-mile bike ride to the train station, followed by a 45-minute commuter train, followed by a $12 cab ride. But this was nothing compared to the 20 years it took for us to track each other down. Our last contact was in 1988, and though we've become very different people on the surface, nothing has really changed at the core. In an alternate universe we probably could have stayed up till 3 and ordered a pizza, like we used to do as untethered college kids in Bloomington, Indiana.
Now this next part is going to read like a non sequitur, but bear with me. I've noticed that every time I go to a job interview--and believe me, I've had way too many these last few months--someone always remarks how my resumé is all over the map. This always irks me a little, because I figure when you boil 20 years of professional experience down to a single page, it's probably (maybe even preferably) going to seem less than homogenous.
I've decided, in fact, that resumés don't go far enough to show what's really of value in a life, what truly defines a candidate's character. And shouldn't that be part of what's being sussed out by potential employers?
Resumés should be constantly reformed and reinvented, with placeholders for the experiences that define a person the most, which, for many of us, is superfluous to our professional histories.
So in addition to the many years of teaching; the hopeful but ultimately dashed forays into publishing; the awkward, ill-fitting position in a medical association; and the futile but defining years of community organizing; I'd argue for the following additions to my resumé:
1989-present: reluctant jogger
1995: teacher of Jeff
1984-1988; 2008- : friend to Andy
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
So here's the thing: Thursday night some neighborhood violence hit too close to home, and I decided in my initial post to let off steam and indulge some armchair analysis: wondering about Obama's victory, and whether its euphoria had reached as far as the Latino community. I suspected that some of our own neighbors might be feeling slightly left out of the party.
The photo above points to some of the ambivalence that may swirl around Obama's victory, at least in communities like ours. It may not be easy to see, but that hand-painted sign--on a garage on the most affluent and desireable block in the area--has been tagged several times. Tiny scrawled 'yes'ses, and the more prominent strike-through across Obama's name, which appeared only since Tuesday's results.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The other day was unseasonably warm, so Mildred was enjoying a little time on her porch. She doesn't see well so I shouted a quick hello followed by, "It's Christy."
"Oh, Christy . . . come on over and join me for a moment."
She went on to say how excited she was about Obama's chances. "I think he's got it in the bag," she said. "And before you go, I have a new slogan for you. Let me know what you think of this . . . "
She got a wry look on her face and--with great panache and perfect comic timing--delivered the following:
"How about, 'McCain . . . and Unable'?"
I'll tell you what I think of that, Mildred. With age comes great wisdom. Let's hope you get to see history made tonight!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Check out my caddy . . . I mean daddy.